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Washington: Around 60 incidents of hate crimes against Sikhs were reported to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2018, making the community the third most commonly targeted religious group after Jews and Muslims in the US, according to an annual report released by the FBI on Tuesday.

A total of 7,120 hate crimes were reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies around the country last year, slightly down from 7,175 in 2017, the FBI said, adding that this involved 8,496 offenses.

The largest number of hate crimes based on religion were reported against Jews (835), followed by Muslims (188) and Sikhs (60). According to the FBI report, 91 hate crimes were reported against other religion, including 12 against Hindus and ten anti-Buddhist crimes.

Of the 4,047 hate crimes based on ethnicity, the maximum 1943 hate crime incidents were against anti-Black or African Americans, followed by anti-White (762) and anti-Hispanic or Latino (485).

The FBI reports as many as 148 hate crimes against Asians in 2018, while those against Arabs were 82, anti-American Indian or Alaska Native (194).

The Sikh Coalition in a statement said it is “disheartening” that hate crimes remain systematically “under-reported” across the United States.

According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, Americans experience an average of 250,000 hate crimes per year; this latest FBI data, by contrast, only managed to document 7,120 incidents, with less than 13 per cent of law enforcement affirmatively providing reports of hate crimes, it said.

“While hate crimes remained relatively steady nationally, reported anti-Sikh hate crimes rose by 200 percent since 2017, making Sikhs the third most commonly targeted religious group in the dataset,” it said.

At the end of the day, this data simply isn’t giving us the accurate information we need to effectively counteract hate against targeted communities, said Sim J. Singh, Sikh Coalition senior manager of Policy and Advocacy.

It’s past time for action. Congress must pass the next generation of common-sense legislation that equips law enforcement to better identify and track hate incidents,” he said.

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